Sunday, December 31, 2006

Time to clean out the fridge

The holiday parties are just about over and you have a refrigerator full of left overs.Just how long do you hang on to the stuff? Should it go in the freezer? How long can I keep it in the freezer?

I don't know about you but I have a jar of olives in the fridge that are at least two years old. They're little grren ones with pimento stuffed in the middle. They've been there so long I think they actually belong to the fridge. If I take them out they may upset the balance of the west coast! We long forgot about them and no one in their right mind would even open the jar, much less eat them. They look brand new, I am sure they are probably fine to eat, but no is going to take the chance. No. One. So I think it's time they went to the happy hunting ground and give up the space in the fridge.

Just how long can something be kept in the refrigerator or freezer? Surprisingly, not long in the refrigerator, longer in the freezer, but some things should never be frozen. Let's take my favorite ingredient as a for instance: Eggs. Those wonders! You can do so much with them, but how should you treat them while you're waiting to use them up? Pretty much everyone knows about salmonella and eggs. They do need to be in the fridge. They'll stay fresh between three and five weeks refrigerated. Eggs in the shell should not be frozen. (that's not to say, they haven't ever been frozen while in your too cold fridge!) However, if you remove them from the shell, the yolks and whites are good in the refrigerator 2-4 days, but they'll last a whole year in the freezer! That's incredible. Remember if you have a surplus of eggs, remove them from their shells and freeze them. Label them by date and rotate them out.

Eggs are best if you can buy them fresh. I highly suspect eggs from the store any more. I think most of them are already 3 weeks old when you purchase them and then you have a short time line to use them. I shudder to think of the televised reports of stores taking them out of the carton and replacing them in new cartons! Yikes.

Boiled eggs don't freeze well at all, but they'll be good for a week in the fridge. That means you can boil up a batch and use them all week for snacks or salads. Keep that in mind when doing your new resolution meal planning.

Egg substitutes will be good for 10 days unopened or a year if frozen. Opened - just 2 to 4 days. Yikes, better use those quick!

Then there's the egg by-product mayonaise. It's good for two months opened (commercial brands) in the fridge and don't even think about freezing it. Better yet - make your own! It's so much better tasting and you can make just what you need then you don't have a storage problem.

Recipe for mayonnaise:

1 egg, yolk only
1 cup light olive oil, use canola if you don't have the olive oil
1 lemon, juiced
salt and pepper to taste

This will give you a basic mayonnaise. If you prefer to flavor it with other flavors, such as, mustard or dill, go for it.

In your blender, whir together the egg yolk and 1 to 2 tablespoons of the lemon juice add a dash of salt and a bit of pepper. With the blender on slowly add the oil in a small stream until it is blended well. It doesn't take alot of practice, but you do need to pour that oil slowly. You can also blend your ingredient by hand with a wisk if you'd like. If you do choose to blend by hand, make sure you only add a few drops of oil at a time!

Once blended, add lemon juice, salt and pepper to adjust flavor to your liking. You'll probably want to make your own from there on, it's so good.

If you need to really clean out the fridge and want more info on storage lengths and effectiveness go to the Partnership for Food Safety site and there are all kinds of tips and information available to make the job that much easier.

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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas Every One!

This was a Christmas card I sent years ago. It is still one of my favorites. I wish you all that you wish, no matter what it is, have a great time with those you love!

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Baking has begun!

Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Today we started off with a batch of Spritz Cookies. These are #1 daughters' favorite from childhood. They go together so quickly and there is nothing easier than a pressed cookie!

Lots of Spritz

I had six dozen done in about thirty minutes! That's another reason I love making these.

Then we moved onto to Log Jams. Easy peasy! A simple butter cookie recipe rolled into a log and then a well pressed into the center. Fill the well with seedless raspberry jam and bake! Drizzle a lemon glaze over the top when they're cool and you have #2's favorite cookie!

Log Jams

I then quickly moved on to a batch of homemade marshamllows, mint and vanilla. They are set out to dry tonight and they'll be photographed when they're done tomorrow. ;-)

Number 3's favorite is chocolate sorbet. That I'm making Thursday along with some chocolate chip gingerbread and some chocolate krinkle cookies. Shopping tomorrow, so no baking but, pleanty more where these came from!

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas cake

Christams cake
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
This is the best cake of the season! It's sugary and sweet and chcoolate! The best thing is that it's calorie free. I won't be eating this one. It's so cute!

I sent a note to Julia over at Little Cotton Rabbits She is the most creative gal! I love her rabbits, and monkeys, and when I saw these cakes I knew I had to own one. Secretly, between you and me, I really want a rabbit for Little Miss. When they become available I'm going to tryas I might to be quick on the buy button and get one.

Go take a look, someone across the pond is a great knitter!
Cozy Cupcake

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Breakfast today

breakfast begins
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
For the first time in a long time, I woke up hungry. I usually don't eat breakfast early in the day. I get up get the day started and then eat something around 9 a.m.

So this morning I decided to grab a quick bowl of Shredded Wheat. I know, I know, ewwweeewwee! is what a lot of you are saying. That's like eating hay! Yes, but I like it.

You see, I am allergic to milk. Have been since I was just a baby. I was even allergic to breast milk. Both my brother and I about drove my poor mother absolutely insane until she found out what made us cry, scream, wail all the time was the food we were ingesting. Anytime I eat anything with a huge amount of milk in it, I deal with the sick stomach and follow-up repercussions.

That's why I like Shredded Wheat. You can use a very small amount of milk, and actually not feel guilty about dumping a bunch milk down the drain. I learned as a small child to run the biscuits under hot water and then drain them off well add your sweetener and milk, consume. I still do it that way. The hot water gets the wheat nice and soft and ready for the milk. You can use just a minimal amount of milk, (not enough to make me queasy thank goodness) and it's gone when the cereal is!

Whenever I eat other cereals there is always a ton of milk left over and
I throw it down the drain. I feel so guilty pouring it away but you simply cannot addd it back to the carton. You'd have a mixture of ewewwewe creepy milk. I shudder thinking about it. Ick.

So that's why I choose Shredded Wheat for all your inquiring minds. Warmth, less milk yay! and less waste!

breakfast is over

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Okay, on to the holidays!

Last week I spent the week selling stuff. This week, I'll be buying stuff. I thought since I haven't cooked in a bit, I'll share with you some of the places I'm shopping for foods for the holidays and gifts. Next week, I promise, there'll be cooking here!

We'll start off with sweets then move to savories. I usually bake up a storm during the holidays unless I am so buried in work. This year is different. I'll be baking, but there are still some sweet and savory items our family loves, but cannot produce ourselves. What I'm buying and where:

D'Italia has all of the wonderful Perugina products! We must have Bacis. Every one has a little note of love included with the kiss. Who can resist an Italian kiss? D'Italia also carries other fine foods and gifts for the holidays.

Next we must have See's. This candy has been on our table for 50 years. I cannot remember a holiday where there wasn't a box of these wonderful confections. I know my sister loves Godiva, but I'm still a See's girl. The raspberry cream is so tart and wonderfully paired with a good semisweet dark chocolate. The variety we're able to choose online enables us to get everyone's favorites. No set asides at our place!

Those are the sweets must haves that we cannot make ourselves. No on to savories.

Okay, I don't mail order these, they're just around the corner from me. But they must be mentioned. Winchester Cheese Farm was one of Saveur Magazine California's top 100 in 2005. I love their Goudas. Their longest aged is my favorite. It is nice and hard and "grate-able". It is pungent and tart. I love it on a good ceasar salad grated or thinly sliced. Make Winchester Cheeses the center of a holiday platter!

Bristol Farms is one of my favorite places to shop. For those of us lucky enough to live in SoCal, they truly are the crown jewel of the grocery industry here. They do gift baskets for those of you far away. Good news surrounding Bristol now is that they've just opened their first store in San Diego (I was there Saturday, it is beautiful) and the San Francisco store just opened for all of you in NorCal. Go there it's a must! Soon they'll be in Palm Desert. I'll be shopping there all the time! Temecula can't be far away! The selcetion of meats, fine produce, and cheeses are what draw me in.

For those of you far away. Their catering menu is my well kept secret. When I am stumped coming up with a great menu for a gathering, ther have been many times, when this little menu has helped me see beyond the average. Take a look! You might just be able to surprise a few of your old standbys.

For those of you looking to brighten your table? You can't go wrong with Fishs Eddy. The selection of designers is fab! There are old standards and new hip designs! Go take a look and breather some life into that table of yours!

Okay, that should get you started. Take a look, and if I've missed a favorite of yours, let me know. I'll add it to the list!

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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Cooking up a storm!

Just not in the kitchen. I have been spending an enormous amount of time in my garage. That where I have my kiln. I have been fusing glass every single day and sometimes twice a day. Fusing glass has become my new was to cook.

Don't worry I'm not abandoning food. Not by any means. I am however, starting a webline of products and am in a artists show in Los Alamitos on Monday, so my efforts have gone into that venture.

You can find my shop on the web at 3 Hip Sisters. It is a collboration of my sisters and a few friends. We hope to be able to entice you to buy something and support locally grown art!

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving all!

I hope your holiday with family and friends is everything you hope it is. I will miss my daughters this year. Everyone is spread out across the U.S. and I am staying home. So whomever you're sharing a table with this year, have a great meal and have some pumpkin pie for me!

Thank you for reading and I'll see ya in a day or so. We must begin planning a Christmas feast!

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Thanksgiving Dinner

Okay, this week is the week of all weeks in the food world I travel in...

Let's see what our neighborhood of food bloggers can offer those who haven't made their own Thanksgiving meal plans:

We're talking turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, yams, vegetable, cranberry relish, a relish tray and pumpkin pie for dessert.

I could not resist this jar of pickled vegetables over at I'm mad and I eat. The picture alone makes this consumer want to try it. A jar of spiced vegetables adds just the right touch to the dinner table.

If you haven't cooked a turkey before there is no other place to get explicit directions except of course Cooking for Engineers. He takes you through every inch of the process for you so you can have a great experience cooking that bird!

Now for great potatoes check out BomBippy. They have a really good looking Garlic Mashed Potato recipe to share with us.

Kalyn's talking gravy! It looks like a good way to go, especially if you're counting calories this year.

Yams are so simple, but there are so many ways of doing them. Chowhound has put out the call to everyone. They want the best you've got!

Vegetables? Well, where else should I look than to Joe over at Desert Culinary for my favorite vegetable add-in here. Asparagus is my fav and then to roast it and combine it with ornage, just adds the right touch to a Thanksgiving meal. Thanks Joe!

Elise over at Simply Recipes brings us her uncle's favorite cranberry relish. It looks superb and I'm going to give this a try!

Shuna is the pie queen. Over at Eggbeater Shuna shares the perfect pumpkin pie recipe ever. It has some ingredients in it I would never have thought of using in a dessert but wow! when I tried this last year it was amazing! You must try it at least once.

Last but really not all we could add to the table, but all for now, is whipped cream. I have been to some homes that had never ever tasted fresh whipped cream. I couldn't believe it! So for all of you out there that have never tasted fresh whipped cream this one's for you!

Go buy a pint of Heavy whipping cream. Chill it well. Chill the bowl you're going to use to whip it in. Chill the beaters of your mixer. Once eerything is well chilled, pour the whipping cream in the bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar and a couple of teaspoons of real vanilla and whip it up into peaks. If you like it soft, stop there. If you like a more substantial feel to your cream, let it beat a but longer. But be careful! You're not making butter! Too much whipping can make it a bit too stiff, but even then, it is still better than anything you've ever had coming out of a can!

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Monday, November 13, 2006

A post in which I really cook

apple roll
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
So I had the sis and her husband over last night for dinner. I started thinking I should whip up something sweet for after our meal and I came up with an apple roll.

I had been thinking I was going to make a pie, but I had some laminated dough on hand and decided to go with the roll instead. Butter, 1/2 cube, Granny Smith apples - 3 peeled, about a half cup of cinnamon sugar was all that I needed to put it together.

So I began by rolling out the dough into a rectangle. I melted the butter, and brushed it onto the dough, reserving a small amount for the finish. Then with a sharp knife I sliced into the dough about a third of the way on both sides, making strips of dough about a half inch wide. When that is done, sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the dough lightly.
Core and slice your apples into quarter inch slices. Begin laying the slices on the uncut portion of dough.

At this point I remembered to take a few shots of the dessert I was making!

Apple roll2

Continue laying the apple slices along the dough until you've used all your apple slices. It should look something like this:

Apple slices on dough

Then alternating your dougn stirps, taking one from the top and then one from the bottom, fold the strips over the apple slices to form a "log". When you've completed the roll can be dabbed with the rest of the butter and a small sprinkling of cinnamon sugar to finish it. It will look something like this:

Dough folded over ready to cook
and this:
End shot of apple roll

Pop it in the oven at 375 for about thirty to thirty five minutes. The dough should be flaky and will have puffed up and baked to a golden brown color.

Out of the oven

Slice and serve!
Slice of baked apple roll

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Veteran's day poppy

Veteran's day poppy
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
I always equate these poppies with food. Why? Well, the Veterans that collect donations sit outside grocery stores. I cannot walk passed a Veteran with poppies without making a donation.

I have been trained to do it. From the time I was small no matter who I went to the grocers with, we stopped made a donation and received our flower. I was taught to wear it proudly and to never forget the sacrifices made by someone else for me.

I will not forget. I will always donate. I cannot express my gratitude in adequate words. Thank you.

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Snack foods

Fritos. Lays. Oreos. Marshmallows. Honey buns. Hostess Twinkies and cupcakes. YooHoos. Ding Dongs. Glazed donuts. Nachos. Snicker bars. All those good old snacks!

The food police would have us not eat any of them. And, they want to pass laws to make it more expensive to do so. They'll force you into a healthy eating system if it kills you! Californians in their infinite wisdom said no to a law that would raise taxes on cigarettes for the fourth or fifth time in the recent election. We, a majority of people who don't like breathing cigarette smoke, who have banned smoking in public places and even a few communities completely, said no to more taxes.

The food police want to put higher taxes on snack foods. We need to say no to this also. In 2004 households with incomes of less than $10,000 a year paid 11.9% of their income on snack foods. Compared to people earning over $70,000 who only paid 1% of their incomes you can see why the tax is wrong. Those who can least afford it will pay a much higher tax incrementally. That is what is wrong with the extra taxes we pay across the board. Everyone always says tax the rich, but how? TAxing the rich has a trickle down effect to the poor, so additional taxation is no the cure all it would seem to be.

There needs to be a better way of dealing with the food police and their efforts to change the way society eats. I wish they would study and begin to understand what motivates people to eat the way they choose to eat. There is a reason for every person alive I am sure. Some eat to live. Some live to eat and there is a huge group in the middle choosing the food they eat for emotional reasons.

Please understand, I am not saying snack foods are good or bad. What I am trying to say, is that taxing individuals to punish or modify bad behavior reasoning is a short cut to solving a larger problem. Too many times people think that the only way to change behavior is to make it "hurt". If we tack .50 on every purchase, they'll stop purchasing snacks so often. Baloney! It just makes their budget more difficult to handle when you speak of lower income families. Is it not their right to enjoy a few treats on occasion? Should eveything be gruel because their budgets are so limited?

This takes me to the place I was in college. I wanted to major in finance, and home economics. There was not a blended major like that. Either you are the home manager or the financial manager. My advisor told me good luck, and that I would never be satisfied through pursuit of that major in college. I chose finance. I learned what I needed and became a stock broker, I didn't get a degree. Being a broker lasted about ten years. I was successful, I was at the top of my game, and I walked away from it to work in a gourmet food store. I was much happier. Earning quite a bit less, but much happier. Still there needed to be a way to teach individuals how they can do both, manage their homes so their finances would be used at their optimum. We rarely teach the masses how money works. It is a great tool for some and then others struggle continuously to just put meager meals on the table. There has to be a better way.

The food police are not helping at all. The run about like Chicken Little shouting all about how we're killing ourselves. Well, from the moment of birth, we are all consigned to die. What we need to tell people is how they can "live". And live better than they ever thought they could. Forget all the hype. How about some basic information, and a little creativity. That would probably help more than anything. It is another reason I love the net. All that good information available to anyone who has access.

My sidebar has a list of really good people talking about really good things. Why not click ona few and find out something you don't know. And, hey, why not share a bit too!

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Perception is just that

I read an interesting story this morning in Ad Age daily. It talks about when McDonalds committed to changing the oil with which they fried their famous french fries. Almost as soon as the company made the announcement, they began to get emails of complaint. The fries were no longer the great french fry they had grown to love and consume. They had lost thier "flavor". They had lost their unique crispness known only to McDonald's.

Interesting to note though, was the fact that they had not yet changed the oil over to the new stuff. In fact, they still haven't changed it four years later. It is still the same old stuff they've always used. I am not sure why it hasn't changed, that isn't what this post is about.

What perceptions do you have regarding food? Are they based in personal experience? Or are they based in rhetoric learned from another source. We can be swayed through commercial efforts, through a family member or even a trusted professional. We won't eat this or that, and will only eat "this". Are those choices reality based? Or are the choices we make due to heresay or recommendations from outside sources.

The reason I ask, is we have a family of superb eaters. Some would say too superb, but that is beside the point. What I mean is that there isn't a lot of pickiness at the table. ONe story that always comes to mind is when my oldest was two we went to her regularly scheduled doctor appointment. He said she looked very healthy and wasso cute and animated. He then asked her what her favorite food was? She relied "trees!". "Trees??? What does she mean?" I replied that she was referring to her favoritestest food of broccoli. They look like little trees. He was appalled. He could not believe that I would feed a child of two something so awful as broccoli. I felt as if I had done something wrong, that somehow I was abusing my poor two year old. He even went so far as to say that no one should be forced to eat such terrible foods. Oh, I get it now. You don't like broccoli. Set the perception aside and see what is really driving this outburst. We continued to eat broccoli. And love it.

Other times I have been afraid to try some foreign food because of my perception of the culture or the look of the food. Sometimes I am right on, but others, when I give myself permission to go for it, I am pleasantly surprised. The is an armenian food I just love. It is ground cooked lamb spread between two tortilla like breads. It is wonderful. If I had not become acquainted with a lover of this item I would have never tried it. Now every time I go to LA I find myself ot the "bakery" that makes them. They're wonderful treats. I wouldn't tell my husband what they were made with until after he had tried them and said he liked them, because he doesn't eat lamb. You know lamb is innocent and is a religious representation of Christ, therefore his parents would never think of eating lamb. Me, I asked for it, for a birthday dinner once because it is my favorite.

One of my least favorite things to eat are mustard greens. The smell of them alone should keep one from trying them. However, everyone else in the family loves cooked greens and we even have gone so far as to get them to go so everyone could enjoy them if they weren't dining with us. So... let the lesson be learned. Don't be swayed by perception. If it is foreign to you, don't pass it up. Give it a try, don't let the hype keep you from trying something new!

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Bruschetta plate

Bruschetta plate
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
We had lunch out today. Maggiano's in Orange County - Costa Mesa to be exact. We had gone out shooting photos and videos and stopped by to have lunch. Their food is always so good.

We started with the bruschetta, it is delicious. The cheese adds the perfect touch. It makes the tomatoes taste almost like fresh strawberries.


then moved on to a main dish:

Rigatoni D

I chose a Rigatoni "D" dish. It was made with chicken and mushrooms with a marsala sauce. Very well done. The big guy had lasagne.

Then I packed up most of my main dish so I could have a profiterole!


For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a cream puff filled with vanilla ice cream, and then doused in a chocolate sauce. A bit of cream and powdered sugar are put on top. A scrumptous way to finish the meal.

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Small fruits

Small fruits
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Today I'm taking some shots of the tiny fruit I found at the grocers. The orange is a blood orange, normal size, so you can see how small the pears and the apples are.

The apples are actually crabapples. I have never seen them fresh like this. We have enjoyed them for years, spiced - stems and all. There was always a jar at the table at Thanksgiving around our home. I didn't even know you could eat them fresh like this until just a few years ago. Now to find them locally is really incredible considering the grocery stores around here.

Then the pears, my favorite fruit of all time, were there. Listed as "baby" pears. I'm sure they're not thrilled with the description, but they were fresh and ripe and I could hardly contain myself long enough to photograph them. Delicious!

What small fruit have you seen lately?

I am also enjoying my new camera! I cannot believe what great close-up photos it takes just using the auto settings. I will have to break it out of auto presets and shoot something showing some real depth of field soon. but for now enjoy these:

Pears and crabapples


harvest bushel

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Harvest table

Harvest table
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
This is my Thanksgiving/harvest table centerpiece this year. Last year I did the gourds thing and by Thanksgiving, the gourds had begun to rot and kindof creeped me out. A lot.

This year I have amassed a collection of ceramic gourds. One reason is because they won't rot. Another is so I can use them year in and year out. I won't be wasting gourds every year and I feel better about that. I also bought a unique "bowl" to put it in for the table. I looked and looked for just the right item for the centerpiece and was confronted with the same old thing. Giant leaves, wrought iron leaves, shiny plates in autumn colors. All of these were great but the didn't suit me. Finally I found this big round piece designed as a wall hanging. I thought it would be fine to put it on the table, fill it with fall stuff and then afterward, hangit on the wall if I wanted. Yep. That's what I chose.

So here's to entering in my favorite time of year. Gratitude time. Oh there are so many things to be thankful for. One for instance, that I am blessed to live in a country where I can worry about hwo I'm going to decorate my table for autumn. Silly in the eyes of some, but hey, I'm prudent most of the time.

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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Shopping with the sis

So I spent my first day of freedom from work, not freedom from debt min you, but freedom from work, shopping with the sister. We had some fun, had lunch and then shopped some more. Then we parted ways to head home in different directions.

When I got home I found another reason to shop! This one will be online however. The cupcake ornaments are just one of several ornaments that Sur La Table is featuring in their newest catalog.
Just look at these!

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Monday, October 30, 2006

So long and thanks for all the cake!

For the past year this blog has been primarily focused on my experiences working at "the bakery". Well, that chapter has ended. The bakery has been sold, and I am on to a new chapter in my book of life.

I have enjoyed the bakery so much. From the day I walked in to buy a cake and left with a job, to the exhaustion that became a constant companion, to the smiles of customers, and the gaining of new friends, I enjoyed the experience of being at the bakery.

So now what? Well, onto different places. Still food related. I look forward to broadening the horizons at FoodChronicles. I appreciate your readership and look forward to many more years of talking about food and food stuff.

So let's begin again, dear friends.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Let's all pause for something...

S C R U M P T O U S !!!!!!!!!


This man is amazingly good looking, and he seems to have a real "bad boy" appeal. He's Jon Douglas Rainey. Co-star of Discovery's "It Takes a Thief". He's a sure bet for a young DeNiro and if Hollywood isn't paying attention, they should be.

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Monday, October 09, 2006

We did a ton of cakes!

Davis is one today!
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
Last week we did 23 large cakes and 4 wedding cakes. Aaaaagh! I did quite a few of the large cakes. We called S'mee in to help. She did the decorating on the wedding cakes. Yes, all four!

The cake above is a collaboration. I did the decorating, and S'mee did the lettering. The cake is for one of S'mee's good friends so I made her letter the thing. We wanted it to be really nice for the birthday boy!

Another birthday cake was for grandma. The daughter called and asked if we could do a cake with cats. Of course we can! I am a cat person, if anyone can do cats, it's me.

Cats for grandma

Then the most wonderful couple came in to order a cake for their daughter. I have never seen a dad so engaged ina prodject as this one was. He was as excited about the cake as his wife. We came up with a cute cake for their soon to be six year old:

Emily's 6

and then, and then, oh boy, and then....

there was this cake. Two guys cam in to order cakes for a party they were throuwing for their wives. A Pimp and Ho party. (I can only imagine the hits I'm going to get from thsi!) They wanted gold, green and purple. They didn't want it to look too cheap. I suggested goild coins on the side and they said no, that would be wrong. ??? So we took a look at a mardi gras cake we had done and they chose to do the cakes like it. So here we have version one of the 14" party cakes. The other was green with purple, and gold with purple and green accents.:

Holy Hannah!

Glitter on all three. Eeeek! Each was a different flavor so hopefully all the guests were satisfied. Well, with the cake at least.

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

One other thing...

In addition to the cell phone post.

Contrary to popular belief, a woman never wants her age on her cake!

I am not sure there is a woman alive that wants someone to purchase a cake for her, throw a party for her, whether it's a small intimate gathering or a big party, and have her age be the centerpiece of the affair.

Other than celebrating age because of tragic events, and the likelyhood of not surviving this long, there is not another reason to have a woman's age advertised. I have never has someone ask to put a man's age on a cake; interestingly enough. Oh, once, yes once, for a surprise party. I'm sure he was just as thrilled.

Well, I take that back. A woman did order her own cake once and ask that her age be part of the decoration of said cakes. But that was only once. The others have been by sisters (don't even think of it), brothers, sons, daughters etc. It seems the only people that do not need to be told this are husbands. At least they've figured that part out. ;-)

If you feel differently, let me know.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006


My my my. Some of us need a lesson in being polite. Yes, I know some of you out there are saying "Ya think?" But then, there are the clueless among you. So I will offer a simple piece of advice.

When you're talking on your cell phone...

Don't go into a service type business, let's say, a bakery for instance, and keep talking on the phone while the person, who just put down a decorating tube, interrupted her work, to wait on you, stands there waiting for your call to end.

Sometimes, it can be a bit unnerving. Especially when said 'wait person' has 14 cakes to finish before the end of the day for people who have paid for cakes and didn't talk on their cell phone while placing their order. Those orders and customers are important and waiting while you finish up a call, without even acknowledging said wait person, can make tham get frustrated, and possibly unwilling to help you at all.

And then, when your call is finished...

Don't ask if the bakery can make you a small cake. One say, to feed forty, for tomorrow in your favorite Ameretto flavor. Or any other kind of flavor. Hello! Cakes need to be baked before anyone can decorate them, in that most wonderful personalized version, you wish. And then they have to cool, and be prepped for icing, filled and then decorated just for you! Those little things should be taken into consideration before asking if you can have a cake tomorrow.

Oh, and the most important part. The fourteen cakes waiting to be decorated and finished by the person waiting for your phone call to be done. They were ordered days ago, while you forgot you needed a cake for tomorrow. They're the real reason you can't have your cake tomorrow. There's only so much one person can do in a day.

Especially while waiting for your phone call to end. /rant

Sorry to my regular readers. I know you'd never wait until the last minute to order a cake for your special occasions. I was just thinking maybe that random web surfer might learn something while awake at three a.m. ;-)

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Monday, October 02, 2006

Forever Wed

Happy wedding!
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
This was Alyssa's wedding shower cake. It was a replica of the invitation. Cakes this past week were pretty simple, this was the only one worth photographing. Here's a close up of the diamond:

This week is going to be a bit different. There should be more opportunity for shooting a few more cakes.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Gratuitous Food Photo

Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
I am buried seeking a patent application. Until then, help me out. Tell me something edible, you can make with these simple ingredients.

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Saturday, September 23, 2006

Hello Seth Roberts visitors!

I have been covering Seth Robert's Shangri-La Diet for months. I have not added anything new for a while because I have been off the diet since I got back from vacation. Prior to my vacation I was following the diet completely, even working at the vacation. While on the SLD I lost about 20 pounds in 6 weeks, gained a ton of energy and loved being acutely aware of my eating habits. I did the sugar water version of the diet. My husband is an oil devotee. If you read closely, you'll find that I manage a bakery. A cakery to be exact. It is near impossible to work around sweets 10 hours a day and not consume them. Forgive my indulgence.

One thing you need to know about the Shangri-La diet(SLD). The smell of food can work against you. I get up in the a.m. around 5:30 - 6:00, drink my sugar water and then head off to work. When I get there I am confronted with the smell of cinnamon rolls coming out of the oven. It is downhill from there. I may be leaving my employ soon. I will then return to the SLD.

My husband, on the other hand, has lost 25 pounds in three weeks while carefully attending to SLD. He has found this to be the easiest method for losing wieght and maintaining adequate nutrition to work full time and manage outside activities.

I recommend the SLD. Everyone who has battled with the ups and downs of dieting should purchase the book, read it, and then apply the principles found therein. You'll find a new approach to eating, food and taking the emotion out of it all. Seth Roberts has not paid me to make this endorsement. In fact, I wouldn't know him if I met him on the street. I am just glad he's shared his success with others.

Yes, I am a foodist. I love food. I love the ability that the SLD gives me to make wise food choices and really choose my consumption without the emotion driven eating I have chosen to do in the past. Give it a try, what have you got to lose?

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Lunch, dinner and more

Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
In the same lot as the bakery is a great little Italian bistro. They make THE best garlic 'bread'. It comes on pizza dough, drenched in roasted garlic, a little butter, and three cheeses. It is all toasted together in the pizza oven and is served with marinara sauce for dipping. We just set aside the sauce and enjoy the roasted garlic.

Now, on to lunch, dinner and more. Last Friday I called the bistro and ordered a to go dinner. Anti Pasto salad and garlice bread. The salad is mixed grean, with salami, provolone, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, grated cheese, etc, etc, etc. It is so refreshing to eat on a hot summers eve. We enjoyed the dinner very much.
Tuesday rolled around and a friend came to help out at the bakery. She was wondering about what to serve for dinner that night. I mentioned our meal for dinner Friday and she made a note and thought maybe she would do that.

Wednesday she stopped by to say hi. I asked her if she had ordered dinner from the bistro. She replied to the affirmative, but was very disappointed. Surprised at her response I inquired further. The salad had spinach on it. Ugh.

Well, last night s'mee and her daughter in law me me at the bakery. We decided after a long day working we would grabb a bite at the bistro. Of course, I ordered the salad. I even made a point of inquiring about the spinach in the salad. The reply came that they didn't have spinach in the salad at all. Certainly they wouldn't be making that error. Too much at stake and all.

My salad came, it was wonderful. I did notice some greens I could not identify, yet looked quite a bit like spinach. A lot like spinach. I placed some on a napkin and took a pic. That pic is above.

Then I came home and googled salad greens. I knew it could not be spinach. No restaurant in their right mind would still be serving spinach. So what was this mystery green?

Simply looking at the green closely will tell you it's not spinach.The stem in spinach is green, not white(see pic in earlier post). Hmmmm. What has a white stem? Well, Bok Choi, Pak Choi, and all those asian greens. Which one was it? Tat-soi. Little ol,d Tat-soi. It can grow into a large green and be used like Bok Choi, or can be harvested early and used as a salad green. Voila!

Next time you turn down a perfectly good salad because it contains spinach, look closer. It could just be that pesky tat-soi!

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Fun Cake Day

Skeletons on a cake
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
A mom came in yesterday needing a birthday cake for Saturday. Usually it is too late in the week to order a cake, however, it has been dead this week. So I decided to go ahead and take the order and bake yesterday fternoon so I could get the cake chilled and ready for decorating.

Today I decorated the cake. Her sons birthday is in October, but for some reason they are celebrating it Saturday. Could he have it with skeletons on it? Sure I said. I love that kind of stuff.

So this is Alec's skeleton cake:

Happy Boo! thday!

Oh, and pay now attention to the chocolate dipped macaroons in the background! :-)

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

This spinach debacle

What a mess! Spinach. My beloved spinach! Wasn't it just a month ago I was sitting at a table, with both of my sisters, and a couple of their children, enjoy a lovely spinach salad with blue cheese crumble and apples? We all loved it. It was refreshing and good. Now, if I wanted to duplicate that salad I couldn't. Not only have the Salinas growers plowed under their fields but truckers, reatilers and packagers will simply lose millions of dollars over the next few months due this little germ E-coli.

Today the news stories in major papers totalled eleven. Even the Wall Street Journal has done a story. They've spoken with Don Schaffner, a food science professor at Rutgers on how food scientists track the outbreak of a food borne illness.

Grocers, such as, Whole foods and Wild Oats are giving their customers alternatives and introducing them to other greens to replace spinach.

I guess what I'm trying to say is there are way more people affected by this than a few spinach lovers. Consumption of fresh spinach is averaged at 200 pounds per person per year in the U.S. Wow. When you consider that fresh spinach is a $220 million dollar a year crop, there are many folks who will suffer from the trickle down of this catastrophe. And it is exactly that. A $220 million catastrophe. Jobs will be lost. Insurance rates will rise. Comapnies will be driven out of the business. Farmers. Living the good life, to feed all of us.

Think about it. It's not something to joke about. It's not a popeye cartoon. It's the lives of all the farmers out there trying to put food on your table.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Another part of the kitchen

We all read and publish food blogs because we like cooking or at least to aspire to like cooking, or just baking. It's not always the chopping, slicing, dicing. Or even the baking, sauteing, or braising. Those things are fun, and there are some very talented people from which to learn these things. What I'm talking about today is the other part of being interested in food, the gadgets and the tools and the pretty stuff that makes the table look nice.

Part of the fun of familiarizing yourself with the kitchen is the STUFF! Everyone has their favorite thing to use and can't live without it. Mine is my cuisinart. Ever since Flo Braker, whom I'll praise with my last breath, introduced me to the art of perfect pastry crust using a Cuisinart, I can't live without my essential cooking tool.

But you know what? Every now and then, you just have to buy something to brighten up your space. It doesn't have to be new, per se, but something new for you. Where has this come from? Well, in the past three days, I've received just a few catalogs in the mail. It must be buying season.

What I've found that I like are some of these. I don't drink but the glasses look so nice! Or possibly these, aren't they divine! I have a huge cloche that these would be perfect with. These aren't something for decor, but It would be so nice to have these with the holidays coming soon! It makes baking so much easier!
I picked up one of these on vacation and I can't believe I lived this long without one! I paid full price! Go and buy one on sale! Can you imagine the stockings you could stuff with these! Everyone will thank you.

So what fun new stuff are you looking to add to your kitchen?

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Dying in Vain

Waiter Rant has a new post that says all I've ever wanted to say about wasting food. Please go there and read it.

It makes me crazy to throw away food. It's one of the reasons I don't shop weekly or bi weekly. I shop almost every three days. I don't know what I'll want to eat from day to day and it makes me crazy to see food just rot away in the fridge. But even more than vegetables, I do not like wasting meat. Meat was once an animal. An animal that was placed here for our benefit. It is like wasting them and spoiling our stewardship over them when you let meat rot and just throw it away. We should all be more mindful of this kind of waste.

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Cake fun this week

rock n roll, hoochie koo
Originally uploaded by foodchronicles.
This week I had an unusual request. I had a couple come in looking for a cupcake cake. I had seen them on the web but had never done one. It is frosted like a cake, then your guests just pull the picture apart as the cupcakes are consumed.

Problem being, they wanted 100 cupcakes utilized in the cakes. Wow. It was a party planned for two people turning 50. Of course the theme was "fifties" for the main cake. Then for the guy a Laker cake and for the girl they asked for palm trees.

I got about half of the cupcakes on the 1/2 sheet board and then put the rest on a couple of 18" boards. It was fun to do and I think they'll like the result. If requested, I wouldn't mind doing a few more. The only thing I didn't like about them was the cake to frosting ratio. It was more like a cake.

Here's a view of the other two "cakes":

Palm trees

Laker jersey

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